Google working to adapt Android for folding phones

With the launch of the world's first foldable phones, a new operating system needs to be able to deal with this new technology. — dpa

Google plans to update Android to prepare and adapt the operating system for the wave of new folding smartphones set to arrive in 2019, adding new features for such devices with changing screen sizes.

Android head Hiroshi Lockheimer said in Barcelona that Samsung was working with Google to ensure that apps used on its Galaxy Fold are able to run smoothly whether being used on the device's smaller screen or on its larger tablet screen that can be folded open like a book.

Likewise, Huawei is also collaborating with Google on its Mate X foldable smartphone.

"We will learn a lot with these initial devices about how people use them," says Lockheimer. He says that app developers will also have interesting approaches to using this new technology. He expects this to be a process over several years, just like when the first touch screens were launched.

Lockheimer also discussed the upcoming new Android version, and stressed that the company was not looking to combine its two operating systems Chrome and Android.

"We are very fortunate to have two successful operating systems. But the technologies are different – and the reason for that is, the use cases are different," he says.

Stronger and better integration of Google Assistant has also meant that smartphones are becoming more frequent in regions where the levels of illiteracy are high.

"People before maybe were afraid to get a smartphone because they couldn't read or write," Lockheimer explains.

Currently, Google is faced with another big challenge, and one that is not easy to solve at all: Finding a dessert name that starts with the letter Q.

Yes, the update to the latest Android "Pie" version is in need of a new name, and if Google is going to follow their dessert tradition, that's what they need.

"I remember when we started, in the cupcake/doughnut time frame, we were like, oh, when it comes to Q or Z, that's going to be challenging. But then it seemed so many years from now," says Lockheimer.

The company has not yet determined what happens after they run out of letters of the alphabet. – dpa

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